Agro export to account for 50% of Nigeria's forex
The Federal Government yesterday disclosed plans to earn over 50 per cent of its foreign exchange from agro-industrial exports by 2020.
The plans are contained in a draft trade policy, which was considered and reviewed during a meeting of the Enlarged National Focal Point (ENPF) on trade matters in Abuja.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Trade and Investment, Dauda Kigbo, was to review the policy developed in 2002, with a view to making inputs by the various stakeholders.
The document stated: 'Agriculture was a key economic driver and accounts for some 35 per cent of GDP, but underdeveloped and inefficient despite the large land area available and favourable agro-ecological environment.'
It said agriculture, which exports exceed $2 billion annually, mainly concentrate on a few unprocessed products, while agricultural import of about $3.5 billion are mainly unprocessed foods products.
The document indicated that government was poised to put in place an agricultural trade policy aimed at increasing foreign exchange earnings from agro-industrial exports, as well as ensure free flow of agricultural products within the country
It said the plan is aimed at encouraging agricultural processing link with the manufacturing sector and value addition processes, including imports of semi-processes products for further processing.
'The agriculture trade police will improve product quality through implementing appropriate standards and operating procedures and enforcing compliance.
It is also aimed at encouraging exports through improved facilities for handling and storage of export products and establishment of export promotion centres.
The policy is aimed at improving export market information and provide appropriate incentives, including encouragement to investment. It will also help improve farmers' access to productivity-enhancing inputs including imported inputs,' it stated.
Kigbo in his remarks, said the enlarged national focal point meeting, is a body charged with the responsibility of preparing Nigeria's position on all trade issues
He said the meeting was expected to consider the draft trade policy which has been developed in 2002 with a view to making inputs.
The measures according to him include ensuring strong and robust fiscal policy, tax policy as well as trade policy to develop trade as basis for rapid, equitable and sustainable growth through broadening the national product base.
He said the export policy would be focused on developing markets in ECOWAS and taking advantage of the US African Growth Opportunity Acts (AGOA) and opportunities in other specialised markets.